Cornwall or Kernow is a county in England, it has its own language although rarely spoken which gets it routes from Bretagne. It is a rugged and wild land separated from the rest of England by the Tamar River that enters the English Channel at Plymouth. Brunel’s railway bridge over the Tamar connects it to England and a modern road bridge sits beside it. There are also ferries. There is also the A30 that is the main motorway that runs down the spine of Cornwall and crosses the Tamar where she is not so mighty. The county’s climate is greatly affected by the North Atlantic Drift which gives the place a Sub Tropical climate. This means palm trees, acqua coloured sea, an incredible selection of Flora and Fauna in the public gardens and warm rain. It doesn’t mean you don’t need wet suits even in Summer.
- Brunel’s railway bridge over the Tamar connects it to England
- The captains owned the houses surrounding the harbour
- There are ferries you can take from Falmouth
Falmouth is a town on the South Coast of Cornwall which owes its greatness to its harbour. The deepest natural harbour in Western Europe and the third largest in the World. Its fame comes from the Falmouth Packet ships that connected the British Empire. Their speed made them safe from pirates so they carried the mail and the money. Falmouth knew what was going on in the World before anyone else. These ships unloaded at the Green Bank Hotel and gave lodging to their passengers. The captains owned the houses surrounding the harbour. The hotel has a fantastic view from the bar and the restaurant serves good food. The harbour is a sailing mecca and the commercial port is thriving. The beaches of Gyllngvase, Swanpool and Maenporth are great places to do your coasteering. This involves swimming, jumping off cliffs and navigating from bay to bay using your body. The Cove Restaurant at Maenporth is a must to eat well and watch the sunset. All of the other beaches have restaurants that well worth a visit, The Gylly Beach Café and “Hooked on the Rocks” at Swanpool.
Across the bay is the town of St Mawes and its Henry the Eighth Castle guarding the entrance to its harbour. There are ferries you can take from Falmouth or you can drive to the King Harry Ferry, a cable ferry for cars that takes you to The Roseland Peninsula. The coastal trail, a walking trail that takes you the whole way round the county, is striking. This trail meanders you through woodlands thick with bluebells and wild garlic along cliffs, past deserted beaches and to villages where you can rest with good food and drink. The church on the Roseland at St Just is where Christianity first came to Cornwall.
The book Frenchman’s creek is based on this river and it is an Unesco area of Outstanding Beauty.
Leaving Falmouth head to the Lizard Peninsula, this has the most southerly point in England. It also is very rural and even in high season appears to be unpopulated. The village of Helford on the Helford river is an example of how beautiful this place is. The book Frenchman’s creek is based on this river and it is an Unesco area of Outstanding Beauty. I like to rent a house here and there are a couple of places to do this. One is Helford Cottages and the other is St Anthony’s Cottages both offer high standard cottages with outstanding views. The river is a boating playground and you can rent boats in St Anthony to explore all the tributaries of the river including Carne Creek. Be aware of the tides. The tides in Cornwall are eighteen feet so when the tide is in it comes to the cliffs and when it is out there are hundreds of beautiful beaches which are mostly only accessable by boat. Many a person has been plucked off the cliffs because they didn’t realise the tides or stuck on a sandbank in their boat as the water recedes.
Leaving Helford and heading to The Lizard one can take a long but stunning hike along the cliffs to Kynance Cove. Crystal clear water with white sandy beaches. Again the place is an area of moorland with cattle grazing the grasses. These are needed to maintain the diverse ecological system and keep the moorland healthy. Keep walking and you will come to the little cove at Mullion. The hotel that bears the same name is a great place to stay, eat and drink and rest your weary limbs. From here head westwards to Porthleven and Mousehole all towns with ports and flavour.
Next stop is Marazion with St Michaels Mount just off the beach. It is a home and has a brother in France called Mont Saint Michele. When the tide is in it is cut off but when out you can walk along a path to explore the island. The Godolphin Arms is a hotel right on the beach, great looking place and nice rooms, it is as, you can imagine popular, so I feel that the food suffers.
From here the next big town is Penzanze. The last stop on the London train and the last big place before Lands End. Lands End is steeped in myth but really it was a grave yard for ships in the old days as the sign says a very dangerous coast with tides and races and big winds and a lot of Rocks. That light House can sway eighteen inches either way so it doesn’t snap!
From Lands End we now head North towards the picturesque town of St. Ives on the North Coast This is the wild coast best suited for surfers as it is on the Atlantic Ocean. Take the coast road past Cape Cornwall and into Mining country. This is Poldark country and the tin mines. You can take a tour underground to see what it was like working there. Some of the shafts went out about a mile under the sea so the danger was very great for the miners. Villages of Gurnards Head and Zennor offer Gastro Pubs with excellent lunches.
St Ives is very cool and always is busy, but this does not make it unpleasant. Loads of great restaurants overlooking the harbour that has no water in it when the tide is out so the boats need to flat bottomed. It fills up at an amazing speed when the tide is coming in. You can rent self drive Ribs to explore the coast or explore the town. The Tate has a gallery here as the light in this part of Cornwall inspired artist from all over the World so galleries offer great works of art. The restaurant I like here is called The Beach. It has a fish monger down stairs so I feel that the seafood is very fresh. Full bar and wine list on the first floor overlooking the Harbour. The Portminster Beach Café is also very good. One of the specialities of Cornwall is Moule Frites and the Cornish reckon they do it better than the French.
Moving on go to Gwithian. A beach that is huge when the tide is out and no beach when the tide is in. So choose your times but a lovely walk after lunch. Godrevy Lighthouse sitting on Godrevy Island again shows the wildness of this coast.
Newquay is a very fashionable town to visit in the summer, London comes here to surf and the place has a buzz about it. I prefer to go further North to Watergate Bay and the beautiful Bedruthern Steps. Crazy great big Rocks some how separated from the cliffs standing as tall as the cliffs to which they were once upon a time attached. Jamie Oliver has a restaurant here called Fifteen with a commanding view of a great surf beach.
Driving back to The Helford from here is at least an hour or so. The thought is that Cornish miles are twice as long as English miles basically because the roads are generally narrow and at night the place is extremely Dark.